The Aussie Model of Disaster Recovery

I had recently found a reference to the Emergency Management Victoria Disaster Recovery Toolkit for Local Government.  I’m always curious to see how other nations approach emergency management and even more curious to see the tools and resources they develop to accomplish their goals.  While there is a great deal of consistency between the US model of Disaster Recovery (documented primarily through the National Disaster Recovery Framework), one of the more interesting differences was in the focus areas of each.  While our National Disaster Recovery Framework identifies six recovery support functions (RSFs): Community Planning and Capacity Building, Health and Social Services, Infrastructure Systems, Economic, Housing, and Natural and Cultural Resources; the Aussie model identifies five environments of wellbeing: Natural Environment, Agricultural Environment, Social Environment, Economic Environment, and the Built Environment.

Australian Five Environments of Wellbeing

Australian Five Environments of Wellbeing

While there are certainly commonalities between the two models, each offers a unique perspective on the focus of disaster recovery and what is needed to support communities.  The Disaster Recovery Toolkit for Local Governments, referenced earlier, identifies that local governments are required through legislation to ensure wellbeing to be maintained in each community through each of these environments.

What interesting perspectives have you discovered looking at emergency management globally?

© 2015 – Timothy Riecker

Emergency Preparedness Solutions, LLC


Emergency Management Manuals from Australia

One of the greatest aspects about the field of emergency management is the community of practice we share.  It’s recognized throughout the entire profession that we improve as a practice not only through our own lessons learned buy by sharing and learning from everyone.

The following website provides links to a multitude of manuals on various emergency management related topics from Australia.  The Aussies deal with all the same hazards we do – with wild fire, flood, and typhoon topping off the list for much of the continent.  Take a few minutes to look through what they have shared – you just might learn something, I know I did!

© 2014 – Timothy Riecker

International Cooperation in Emergency Management

I just read an article discussing some high-level meetings between the nations of Turkey and Azerbaijan in regard to emergency management.  While the article was short, it seemed to indicate hope in further discussions and cooperation between the two nations.  Admittedly, I didn’t know precisely where Azerbaijan is relative to Turkey so I looked up the region on Google Earth.  Interestingly enough, the two nations don’t border each other, being separated by the nations of Georgia to the north and Armenia to the south.  Kudos to them for meeting and learning from each other.  These types of relationships have to start somewhere, and it usually starts with understanding.

I continue to be interested in topics on international emergency management.  Even here in the US, despite the amount of cooperation that exists along our northern border with Canada, we aren’t as familiar as we should be with many of their practices in emergency management (for info on EM in Canada, visit this blogger’s website).  I’ve written in the past about some emergency preparedness practices in Cuba and programs and projects elsewhere around the globe, have visited emergency managers in Australia (who in recent news announced the Australian Emergency Management Institute will be shutting down physical operations due to budget issues – very unfortunate), worked a fair amount with our Canadian neighbors, met with a delegations from Israel and South Africa, and hope to visit emergency managers in other nations as I travel.  But that’s really not a lot… I want to learn more.

Unfortunately, many emergency management texts I’ve come across, either in professional or academic research, discuss ‘international emergency management’ in globalized terms.  They discuss USAID, the United Nations, the International Red Cross, and other large-scale efforts.  These are certainly important facilitators of global response and relief, but I’d like to know more about the programs of individual nations.  Where in government do their emergency management agencies reside?  Is it within the Ministry of the Interior, such as in Turkey, or does it fall within their military like many other nations?

What can we learn from other nations?  My previously mentioned post on Cuba cites quite a bit we can learn from them (isn’t it time to move past this diplomatic silliness we have with Cuba?).  It’s rather self-centered of us here in the United States to think that we do it best or that we can’t learn from others.  Many international conferences on emergency management are held in other nations (especially within the EU).  I wonder how well represented the US is at these conferences.The International Association of Emergency Managers is headquartered here in the US, but the IAEM conferences don’t see much of an international representation.  Certainly we have identified many best practices here in the US – things we should share with others – but we should also be open and willing to learn from others as well.

So much of our lives is global in nature.  We have a global economy.  My Toyota pick up truck, sold in the US, was made in Mexico.  Our cultures, foods, and customs have blended.  We track health epidemics globally because we know how quickly they can spread.  Many people are bi- and tri- lingual – often by necessity of business or family.  And certainly we recognize the global impact of disasters where no one is immune to their impacts.  While I’m not involved in international emergency management efforts, it seems, from an outsider’s perspective, that few people are.  Let’s learn more from each other.  We’ll all be better for it.

Tim Riecker